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Man pleads guilty in DUI crash that injured first responders in Commerce City

Posted at 3:01 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 07:46:08-04

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The man charged with five counts of vehicular assault in connection with a DUI crash that injured four Adams County first responders last year pleaded guilty to all counts on Wednesday.

Benjamin Winters, 24, was driving under the influence on Interstate 76 on Dec. 7, 2023, when he drove through police barricades and struck two Commerce City police officers and two Adams County firefighters.

The officers and firefighters were investigating a separate DUI crash when Winters crashed into the scene. A firetruck was blocking two lanes of traffic, allowing drivers to pass on the shoulder.

"This driver, for whatever reason, found a small opening between the left shoulder and the back of the fire apparatus and decided to go around the left instead of the right, at which time he struck the four individuals who were working," said Commerce City Police Chief Darrel Guadnola last year.

The four first responders struck in the crash survived but sustained serious injuries that required several days in the hospital for some.

The incident spurred a passionate message from the police and fire departments the day after the crash.

"Being a firefighter today, walking into burning buildings is not the danger of the job anymore. It's being on the highway," South Adams County Fire Chief Ken Koger said last year. "This has got to stop. I don't know what we have to do. But it's going to change."

Winters is scheduled to reappear in court on Aug. 9 for sentencing.

Man pleads guilty in DUI crash that injured first responders in Commerce City

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